September 24, 2023

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New masterplan revealed four years after previous plan to regenerate 40-acre west London site


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The derelict site of the former Earls Court exhibition center in west London is to be regenerated as an £8bn green neighborhood with a raised urban park larger than Trafalgar Square at its centre, a new masterplan revealed on Wednesday.

The flattened 40-acre wreck where Led Zeppelin, David Bowie and Oasis once performed, and hosted events such as the London Boat Show, Earls Court Motor Show and the 2012 Olympic volleyball competition, has been around since the venue’s closure largely unused for over a decade. in 2014. It was demolished the following year.

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An initial highly controversial plan to turn Zone One’s largest remaining regeneration site into a luxury housing development was abandoned due to vocal opposition from residents of two local social housing estates which were due to be knocked down, and the Labour-controlled Hammersmith End Fulham Council.

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New park in the shape of Trafalgar Square at the heart of the scheme

, ecdc

The previous owner, property company Capco, sold most of the site in 2019 for £425 million to a joint venture called The Earls Court Development Company (ECDC). This majority owner is made up of property investors, backed by Dutch pension fund manager APG and Transport for London, which holds a 37% stake. Two estates, Gibbs Green and West Kensington, were returned to the council.

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ECDC’s new masterplan expects 4,500 new homes, of which around 35 per cent will be classified as affordable, in a largely car-free environment adjacent to three railway stations at Earls Court, West Kensington and West Brompton.

It is one of a series of impending regeneration schemes including White City, Olympia, Old Oak and Fulham Reach which developers hope will restore energy to west London after decades when most of the capital’s exciting regeneration has taken place in the east .

Rob Heisman, chief executive of the ECDC, said his vision was to “bring the wonder back to Earls Court” after many years of delay and bitter dispute.

an overhead view of the full development

, ecdc

He said: “Like the London jigsaw having lost its final piece, this 40-acre site is perhaps central London’s most important redevelopment opportunity. The site has an illustrious past which is a constant source of inspiration to us as we look to the future. Are.

“We want to create a place that restores the ‘wonder’ to this incredible part of London. We will help create a more inclusive and equitable slice of the city, with homes for all incomes and stages of life, and thousands of jobs To start to start from training.

The site will have ten acres of park and open land, including a notable raised city park on a giant slab of concrete called “The Table”, which was once the basis for Earl’s Court Two, which was opened in 1991 by Diana, Princess of Wales. was opened by The developers decided to retain the table to reduce embedded carbon emissions and because of the £30 million cost of removing it.

Other public spaces include a new entrance opposite Earl’s Court station which will retain the familiar steps of the former Exhibition Centre, which have not been removed.

Overall only 40 per cent of the site will be buildings, with high-rise towers surrounding the existing 31-storey Empress State Building and alongside the A4.

ECDC hopes to further enhance the scheme’s green credentials by creating the UK’s first large-scale zero-carbon energy sharing network and a research and development center for green technology.

The north of the site will also house the existing train shed as well as a range of cultural spaces including shared co-working spaces and a recording studio.

The cleared brownfield site is the largest in Zone 1

, ecdc

In total the scheme will create 15,000 permanent new jobs and 2,000 construction jobs during the construction period. A new skills center will open this spring, providing training opportunities for local people.

It is estimated that the scheme will boost the national economy by £1.2 billion per year and cost the local area £100 million per year.

The masterplan – being drawn up by Clerkenwell-based architects Hawkins Brown and studio Egret West – and the application for the first phase of the scheme is expected to be submitted to Hammersmith & Fulham and Kensington and Chelsea councils next year following a further round of consultation. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2025 with completion around 2040.

A spokesman for Hammersmith & Fulham Council said: “We like a lot about ECDC’s approach and many of their ideas. We will continue to work with them to deliver a plan that works for London.

“A lot of their proposed buildings are very tall, so we are working with them to address that.

“At least 50% of all successful developments in Hammersmith and Fulham will be truly affordable homes and we look forward to helping them achieve this.”